According to Gallup – 70% of your employees can become disengaged on any given day for a number of reasons. If, according to Harvard Business Review, at Best Buy the value of a 0.1% increase in Employee Engagement in a particular store is $100,000…just think of how employee dis-engagement effects productivity and profitability.
In my post “Why Good People Quit In #Retail (And What Compels Them To Stay)” I cover some of the main reasons that people actually leave their jobs. In this post I want to cover a little more about how to keep the teams engaged at work.
(A) Employees can become critically disengaged when they do not know how their role fits into the blueprint of the retail organization
-Typically, this is because communication is broken at the senior and/or executive leadership level
-People are energized and inspired when they begin a new role but when they aren’t updated on how their contributions fit in with the vision or results of the company they lose their passion and become disengaged
When we are hiring for a role in the company, we deliver the vision of the company to our candidates with a great deal of zeal. We communicate with sincerity and warmth how their role is critical to the success of a department which, in turn, contributes to the overall success of the company. We fill important roles (why would we hire to fill an unimportant role?) – so why would we lose the enthusiasm when the new hire starts and/or as they are settled into their role? It is imperative that we (as senior and executive leaders) consistently communicate with all levels of employees the values, vision, and results to keep them engaged and focused on the “big picture”. AND it is important to recognize individual contribution to the results. According to Harris Interactive, “research reveals that only 37 percent of employees understood what their employer was trying to achieve and why”. As leaders WE need to provide transparent, credible, actionable feedback and updates on the business to each employee in order to keep them engaged and focused on how critical their role is to the company.
(B) The employee’s manager doesn’t know how to keep the team motivated, engaged, and/or passionate about their department’s vision and contribution
-This could be the result of a number of factors:
(1) They are disengaged themselves
(2) They work in ways that are inconsistent with human nature (i.e. they don’t allow innovation, they communicate with indifference to their employees, they don’t work within the company values, they micromanage their team, they take credit for their employee’s results)
(3) They are in a position that exceeds their professional skill level
It is frightening how toxic a bad manager can be to their team. Even people who are loyal and committed to the company, if their unfortunate leader is allowed to impede progress and culture, can feel abandoned by the company and become disengaged. This issue needs to be addressed. In a situation such as this the company will need to quickly action the manager’s behavior to ensure that the damage they have inflicted is repaired and they are not permitted to continue to sabotage their team and their individual or collective effectiveness. The “A” players on your team will quickly become disengaged if mediocrity is tolerated. Conversely, a workplace culture that does not tolerate mediocrity will reinvigorate action and engagement from their most productive employees.
(C) As you can read in detail in this article from Inc.by Issie Lapowsky – here are 10 Things Employees Want to feel engaged and like they are contributing the success of a company:
1. They want purpose
2. They want goals
3. They want responsibilities
4. They want autonomy
5. They want flexibility
6. They want attention
7. They want opportunities for innovation
8. They want open-mindedness
9. They want transparency
10. They want compensation
The article is worth the read and really gives us, as leaders, a checklist of respectful, human behaviors (that should come naturally) to treat the employees like they should be treated.
(D) This article by Geoffrey James tells us the 10 best phrases to keep your team motivated and engaged at work:
1. “I need your help”
2. “What do you need from me?”
3. “I noticed what you did”
4. “Thank you”
5. “Hey everyone – Listen to what Joe did!”
6. “What would you like to do here?”
7. “I have bad news”
8. “What do you think?”
9. “That’s okay. We all make mistakes.”
10. “I know you can do it.”
Here is an apropos infographic from TheUndercoverRecruiter about “The Working Dead” and how a disengaged “zombie” can create a workplace culture pandemic.
Here are some things employees want from their company to be engaged and motivated at work?
1. How am I doing? (No Secrets and No Surprises)
2. That executive and senior leadership is aligned with company values and vision (No hidden agendas)
3. How are we doing financially? (Is there stability to the business?)
4. Who is our competition? What are we doing to win?
5. What is the bad news? (Treat us like adults, deliver honest information)
6. Clear and concisely delivered communication
7. Rethink and strategize meetings (They should have purpose and be solution based)
8. Value our personal time away from work
It is a retail organization’s responsibility to give employees the tools to be successful, it is their job to provide an exceptional culture built on values that drive successful business and professional behaviors, it is their job to function in the best interest of their employees and customers. The company needs to provide an environment that is respectful, honest, ethical, fair, consistent, and conducive to professional growth and emotional happiness. However, culture and success is not one-sided – the employees must meet the company with enthusiasm, self-motivation, determination and ambition and a desire to work as part of a larger team to deliver greatness.
Here are a few things that a retail organization needs from the employees to help foster a mutually beneficial workplace culture:
-They need their employees to be dependable and reliable
-They need their employees to demonstrate self-motivation and self-development _
-They need their employees to be brand ambassadors and brand advocates
-They need their employees to step up and make the company a great place to work through being solution oriented and dedicated to success regardless of obstacles
-They want their employees to be great individual contributors but also amazing team-players
-They want their employees to be optimistic and positive about the culture, values, and vision of the company_
Employees need to bring these things to their role and their daily professional lives to actively participate in and drive the workplace culture.
I read a great quote once and it was something to the effect of – hiring for the sake of hiring is like eating empty calories. It will make the business bigger but unhealthy. A healthy culture starts with hiring talent that is aligned with the company’s vision and values and not compromising. Hiring people that are emotionally mature and intelligent, ambitious, positive, motivated, will help infuse all of those things into the culture. Not compromising on your standards and taking action when/if a negative influence tries to introduce itself into the culture will absolutely help to keep your team invested and engaged in the business.